Much of the clothing we wear is produced in factories with poor working conditions and few safeguards against pollution. New York Ethical Fashion Week, which took place online September 11-16, is one of many efforts to educate the industry on the importance of a clean and fair supply chain. The week was organized by Jessica Kelly, founder and CEO of Thr3efold, which trains entrepreneurs to grow sustainable brands and connects them to ethical factories.
FIT sponsored two events that week. “Sustainable Innovation: Concept to Product” covered high-tech fibers and finishes, as well as biodesign. Panelists included designer Veronica Apsan ’18; Eden Spatz ’13, who works in development and production at Aday, a sustainable women’s wear brand; and a representative from the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), a government-funded nonprofit based at MIT. Karen Pearson, chair of Science and Math and chair of FIT’s Sustainability Council; and Ann Cantrell, associate professor of Fashion Business Management, co-moderated.
The other panel, “Circularity for Fashion Brands,” focused on ways of approaching zero-waste by creative recycling and reuse. Jacqueline Jenkins, executive director of Strategic Planning and Innovation at FIT, moderated a group of panelists that included Nicole Bassett, co-founder of the Renewable Workshop, and Kristy Caylor, founder of For Days, a circular apparel brand.